This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, BlankBlank, Charles, Lei, Masadeer, and OpenBookWorm.
The White Whale’s Labyrinth
Outside Harun Village was a hunting ground where beginner players spent the night locked in desperate struggles with wolves.
It was here where a new player appeared.
A robust 40-year old man with a scraggly beard, his character name was JusticeMan. The player’s real name was Gwon Hwarang, a man who had formerly held the extremely rare profession of a hot-blooded detective.
The first reaction JusticeMan showed was no different from anyone else’s. He was surprised by the surrounding landscape looking so much like reality, and astounded by his body moving so naturally.
As the beginner appeared, Hansen, who’d been strolling around with nothing to do, quickly started a conversation. Then, when he suggested the mouse hunting quest, JusticeMan scratched his beard as he asked, “But is it a really difficult task?”
“No, don’t worry. It’s something anyone can do. I’m trying to introduce suitable tasks to strangers like you who are here for the first time and haven’t adapted yet.”
“If that’s so, then it’s okay. When a truly pressing matter arises, please call me then.”
JusticeMan nodded a goodbye and exited the village. As always, he was limping on one leg.
As a game that moves the character by scanning the brain, in New World there were no problems with physical disabilities. For someone who couldn’t move their legs at all and even the blind, could walk and see like normal inside the game. Because of this, even in hospitals, virtual reality games were prescribed as one of the therapies to treat a disabled person’s depression.
However, there were many cases where a person’s physical disability had hardened into a habit. This was also the case for JusticeMan. If anything, 2 years of limping on one leg had caused him to forget the sensation of walking normally. Nevertheless, his limping leg was not a big obstacle when it came to playing the game.
JusticeMan left the village, his eyes widened in surprise. Across the wide plain, players were locked in desperate struggles with wolves. Also, they were fighting with swords and clubs, not guns.
It was a scene unimaginable in real life.
Then, he heard a woman’s scream to the side.
“Kyaa, he-help me!”
As he turned his head the sight of a female player being viciously attacked by a Wild Dog came to his view.
While taking his coat off and throwing it aside, JusticeMan blocked the Wild Dog’s path.
As a new enemy appeared, the Wild Dog assessed him with a wary eye. But it noticed it was a beginner user who wasn’t wielding any weapons; the Wild Dog let out a mocking laugh. A murderous look lit up in its eyes and a threatening growl came out from its fang-filled mouth.
Those who were new to virtual reality gaming should have been frightened. However, instead of being afraid, a refreshing smile actually spread on JusticeMan’s lips.
‘A sensation like this, it’s been a while. It reminds me of the time I went on a tour out of duty in South America.’
Bark! Bark! Bark!
The Wild Dog suddenly charged. JusticeMan’s pupils moved quickly as he read the Wild Dog’s movements.
JusticeMan’s body moved.
With movements like flowing water, neither could be called fast nor slow, he seized the Wild Dog by its scruff. Then while rotating his body he tossed the Wild Dog over his head.
With incomprehensible strength, the Wild Dog flew several meters before it was driven into the ground, and lost a fourth of its health.
It was a shoulder throw similar to a picture in a judo textbook!
That’s right, before he retired, JusticeMan had been a legendary high-ranking judo wrestler even in the police department.
In the National Police Judo Tournament, he had won several times and was a skillful man who had always contended for the first and second places in the worldwide tournament as well. But where his ability truly shined was not in a tournament.
He had work experience in special police force taking down organized crime, a counterterrorism task force, and had even been deployed to South America as a police department instructor representing South Korea in an international treaty. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say JusticeMan was a legendary person on the battlefield.
Wielding only a short police baton, he swept away the criminal gangs armed with knives and shotguns, and once he had single-handedly driven away a pack of wild dogs that had raided a village in South America. It was to the point where the South American policemen had called that JusticeMan the Monster of the East.
In others’ eyes it might seem like perilous work, but JusticeMan felt he had the right aptitude for this line of work.
His irrepressible sense of justice and his raging vigor couldn’t possibly be satisfied by an ordinary life. Although he was living in a modern society, he held the spirit of a medieval knight who revered martial arts and justice more than anything else.
‘I haven’t even been able to properly train in a while, but it seems the feeling hasn’t died yet.’
The spirit that had been broken by the aftermath of his injury was revived.
For him, the likes of a Wild Dog was no different from a puppy.
The Wild Dog sprang up quickly and swung its front paw. As a thick, bloody line was drawn across his abdomen, JusticeMan lost half of his health. Since a level 1 player was struck by a level 4 Wild Dog, this was a natural result. But rather than fear, what JusticeMan felt was excitement.
“That’s good. It wouldn’t be fun if you went down with just that.”
JusticeMan’s heavy body went low to the ground like a swallow as he approached. He took hold of the Wild Dog before it could even react and twisted its forelegs.
One of his strong points was his cross arm break!
The Wild Dog’s forelegs gave a popping sound and were dislocated. However the Wild Dog didn’t even have time to scream. JusticeMan twisted around in a flash and switched to a choke hold. Its health fell steadily as if it was being sucked away by a straw.
After the Wild Dog was taken care of, the girl approached hesitatingly.
JusticeMan’s eyes trembled.
He had helped and received thanks.
It was a feeling he had long forgotten for such a long time!
While employed as a detective, he had caught countless criminals. That was definitely justice. But cases where he received thanks after an incident was solved were rare. Since he was a detective, catching criminals was a granted.
It was the truth. JusticeMan truly didn’t catch criminals to receive thanks. But those who made this goal difficult were not the criminals.
When a criminal was caught, he had to hear the resentful curses of their family. Also if even the slightest wound was inflicted, it would rouse human rights groups and the media who would call it excessive retribution. Even as he was lying in hospital after injuring his leg, outside the voices blamed him nonstop. A news reporter even used a ladder truck to plaster himself to the window and take pictures.
His superiors placed all responsibility onto him.
For the first time, JusticeMan felt doubt about his profession.
He had only wanted to fulfill the justice taught to him in police academy. The bad needed to receive punishment and the weak needed to be helped. That’s what he had learned and wanted to live by.
But reality wasn’t as simple. He felt like he had become a useless dropout that was thrown away.
‘But it’s different here!’
He would be thanked if he helped out. There was no one to accuse him of using excessive force. He was able to unleash to his heart’s content the passion of a martial artist that he had abandoned after becoming disabled.
‘It’s here. This is the place I was looking for!’
From then on, JusticeMan began defeating the Wild Dogs while roaming the plains. Whenever someone looked as if they were going to be struck down by the Wild Dogs, he would always intervene and help out. The Wild Dogs were fine, but there were times when he died trying to help a player being attacked by several Wolves. But JusticeMan did not say a single word of complaint. Instead he gave a hearty laugh as if he had done what he naturally had to do.
There were even some players who were impressed and tried to reward him.
“JusticeMan-nim, this is just cheap wheat bread but please have it.”
“Your coat is worn out? If you’re okay with only 2 defense…”
JusticeMan firmly shook his head.
“Receiving compensation conflicts with my principles… No, justice needs no reward.”
Then, he would run off like a gust of wind to find another person calling for help.
While going about and defeating Wild Dogs and Wolves at level 1, his level rose quickly. Without looking through the stat window that popped up before JusticeMan’s eyes, he invested everything into Strength and Stamina.
“For men it has to be Strength and Stamina!”
As he repeatedly fought in highly difficult battles, a new skill and a new stat was formed.
You have learned a new skill.
Jujitsu (Beginner, Passive): You have learned Jujitsu, which is based on a foundation of excellent physical ability and reflexes.
Jujitsu is a skill which uses the opponent’s strength against them to inflict damage. It is a complex grappling technique completely assimilating the oriental ideology of yin-yang.
Joint-locks used on human movements can have the additional effect of greatly reducing the enemy’s ability to move. The damage inflicted on an enemy increases as the proficiency rises when throws, chokeholds, and joint-locks are used.
A new stat has been generated.
Justice (+5) : Justice is a special stat only available to those with a flaming sense of justice to help others.
When a player with the Justice stat joins a battle in order to give aid, all stats will increase by the number of Justice points. Resistance to Fear, Confusion, and Bewitchment is also created in accordance to the the number of justice points.
Everyone in New World has positive attitude towards anyone with Justice. Many people who recognize your talent will request help from you, and if you help them, you can earn higher Intimacy. While stat distribution is impossible, it will increase slightly whenever you help others.
‘Is the Jujitsu talking about judo? And I can think of the Justice stat as a work evaluation.’
The Jujitsu was fine, but he took quite a liking to the stat called Justice. In the real word, even if you help others all you feel is self-satisfaction. Even if your teammates complimented you, they quickly forgot with the passing of time. But here, realizing justice manifested in a numerical value. He would immediately receive an amount that matched his efforts. The Justice stat fuelled JusticeMan’s burning passion.
The opinions of the players about JusticeMan’s actions were divided.
“There’s no way he’s a player. He doesn’t have a single dagger equipped and there’s no reason for him to go around without any armor.”
“What kind of player in the world would go as far as to die for someone else?”
“No player would use a name as awful as JusticeMan, either.”
“I’m sure he is a beginner friendly event NPC.”
“But he has asked about levels and stats sometimes? An NPC doesn’t do that.”
JusticeMan became a mystery of Harun village. And from some point onward, he was more often called Machoman instead of JusticeMan.
JusticeMan was more popular among players than NPCs.
“Hey, Machoman is surrounded by Wolves.”
“Let’s go, we need to save Machoman!”
“But we don’t have much Health right now either…”
“But we still have to help. We already received so much help from him, so we can’t ignore him.”
“You’re right, let’s help Machoman!”
The Wolves who were attacking JusticeMan were dumbfounded.
Just 3~4 wolves were swarmed by 30 players. Among them, Roco, who’d been struggling in Harun Village all along, was also squeezed in.
* * *
When he was swallowed by Gallic he thought it was the end of everything. But Ark was still perfectly alive. While wondering how it happened, an information window suddenly popped up.
White Whale’s Labyrinth
You have entered the stomach of the Great White Whale Gallic, who is called the guardian deity of the Merpeople. Within a body that transcends the imagination, Gallic’s stomach is also as complicated as a labyrinth.
As the guardian deity of the Merpeople, Gallic was an existence that loved peace, but with the ancient former Mermaid Queen’s disappearance, he became violent and is now preying on sea life at random.
Gallic’s change is likely linked with the dark energy enveloping his stomach.
– You have found an undiscovered dungeon.
As the new discoverer, you will earn an additional 1,200 experience and 100 Fame if you register it to the Hall of Fame. Will you register?
Ark answered as if it was obvious and stood up.
So far the only person who knew about the underwater city was Ark. There was no need to share valuable information.
‘So this is the inside of a whale stomach?’
The place Ark was standing on was a space full of rough bumps. It was slow, but the wall occasionally twitched as if there was a pulse.
He was amazed, but it seemed he had really entered Gallic’s stomach.
In any case, it meant he had grasped a clue on the quest completion.
‘I’ll have to go in for now, huh?’
To think that he had to walk into the whale’s stomach on his own feet, it was a strange feeling. But before that, there was something he had to do first.
“Units, line up and count.”
Bat, Skull and Snake answered in turn.
“Master, can’t we stop doing this? It’s embarrassing whenever we do this.”
“Be quiet, everything has a deep meaning. Skull and Snake seem to enjoy it, so why are you the only one complaining?”
“Tsk, it’s because these guys just don’t think.”
Ark dismissed Bat’s complaint and slowly advanced.
‘If this is a dungeon then there’ll definitely be enemies.’
As he entered while following the walls that squirmed like a wave, three Crabs soon appeared in front of him. However, they weren’t the normal Crabs he’d seen outside. After being eaten and killed by the whale, they were Undead Crabs that had been revived by the dark energy. The Crabs, which were melting here and there and had cracked shells, discovered prey and approached as they snapped their claws.
“Eyes of the Cat!”
As he activated the skill, Ark’s pupils emitted a golden glow.
Level 65! The difference in level between them and the Crabs outside was a whopping 30. Ark’s current level was 52, it was the same as when he reached Nodelesse.
It was the result of neglecting combat to focus on business.
Since it was a dungeon, even with the darkness bonus he was still around 60; there was still close to a 5 level difference. He felt taut tension.
‘Even the level 40 Crabs weren’t easy opponents either…’
Underwater monsters were trickier than land monsters. Crabs had strong defence, and the bubbles they spewed whenever they reached critical condition had a Slow hex.
When Ark fought it for the first time, he was more than 10 levels higher, but it still wasn’t easy. Though he’d become used to it, it was certain that they would still be tough opponents. Moreover, at level 65, he couldn’t guarantee victory.
Ark tightened his grip on his sword’s handle.
‘This is the whale’s stomach, there’s no place to run.’
“Bat, Skull! Plan B!”
At his command, Bat and Skull quickly ran out and lured a Crab. Ark ran towards the remaining two Crabs and bombarded the red points with his sword.
Pow pow pow poww!
Ark’s sword moved like a beam of light, and flashes of light burst from four weak points in one strike.
The Crab lost 30% of its health instantly and staggered.
The one who was surprised was not the Crab but Ark.
‘Wh-what is this? This sensation?’
He didn’t know until earlier, but when when the battle started he felt an unbelievable sensation in various places of his body. His body was as light as a feather, and he felt like the sword he was holding was twirling peculiarly in his hand.
If he put his mind to it, he felt like he could attack 4, 5 or even 6 times. He was confident he could display a reaction or speed that was unimaginable in the past. Ark wondered if he had received a different stat bonus, but there was no such message.
Ark suddenly realized something; as he looked around, and knew the reason why he had changed.
‘I see, this is not underwater!’
Ark had spent more than half a month underwater. He battled with the Sharkman’s Shackles and accepted the water penalty like it was natural. Even in reality, he had raised his stamina while doing special training in the pool. But there were no changes that Ark could actually feel. It was only to the point that he could perform as well underwater as he could on land.
However, the inside of Gallic’s stomach wasn’t underwater. He didn’t have Sharkman’s Shackles on, and he didn’t feel the water penalty either. The enormous penalty he’d been receiving until now had disappeared in an instant. It was obvious since he felt like his Strength, Agility, and reflexes had improved manifold.
No, they had really improved. In the end, as Ark had expected, the underwater life had become an opportunity for enormous growth.
That tangible difference was shocking. He felt the Crab’s movements sharply. When he had lost his vision because of the Devil Fish’s ink, Ark dodged as many as 8 feet just by the flow of the current. That sensation remained even now.
As the Crab’s pincer sliced through the air, the feeling of it flying in was conveyed directly through his skin. The four pincers flew at him with complexity, but Ark avoided them all just by moving his upper body.
Crabs can only be attacked at their joints. Although they were undead Crabs, their weak point wasn’t different. But this was Ark, who had broken through scores of flailing Jellyfish tentacles to attack the body, the sole weak point. Compared to Jellyfish, Crabs were riddled with weak points.
– You have dealt a Critical Hit!
Ark’s attack was perfect in timing, location, and everything. Critical strikes landed when he precisely attacked the right spot with the right strength. It was an effect of the extremely heightened precision from underwater life. In addition, Lancel’s sword boasted a fearsome attack power twice as strong as his old one. Wiping out the two level 65 Crabs didn’t even lower his health by 30%.
‘To think it felt this different!’
Experiencing such a huge change in an instant was actually more confusing.
Ark was not the only one who had grown. After Ark checked the Crab’s level he had calculated that Bat and Skull wouldn’t last very long against it. He’d thought that it’d be 1 minute at best, and even then, he’d have to examine the situation and cancel summon for one of them. However, Bat and Skull overturned his predictions.
The one who benefited the most from the lack of water penalty was Bat. As the result of ceaselessly ingesting health food while training with Ark in Nodelesse, Bat’s evasion and attack had greatly improved. Additionally, once even the water penalty disappeared, it was a complete spike in performance. He avoided the Crab’s attacks nimbly and only when an opening appeared did he fly with a full-body charge. The damage from a single shot was at a trifling level, but his attack rate was so fast that the damage was not negligible.
It wasn’t as much as Bat’s, but Skull also showed surprising growth. As if it was trying to get revenge for the sorrow of those times, Skull tore with its teeth as it rolled around the Crabs’ feet.
The two merely level 15 Familiars toyed with the level 65 Crab and cut its Health by 40% in just a few minutes. When Ark joined in, the Crab didn’t even had chance to spray bubbles.
“Ohhh, strangely I am overflowing with strength!”
“Master, a fight! Let’s fight!”
Bat and Skull felt their tangible growth and couldn’t hold their excitement.
“Good, I was worried at first, but it won’t even be hard to solve the quest if it’s like this.”
Ark began to seriously conquer the dungeon.
From the pathway of twitching black walls, Crabs, Devil Fishes, and Sharkmen turned undead flocked in all around. Even when they were undead, they were no different from the ones outside in the ocean. He already knew what kind of attacks they would do, and the weak points they had. Though they were undead, their basic attributes were no different from the monsters he’d met in the ocean. He was aware of what kind of attacks they would do and where their weak points were like the back of his hand.
Also, his condition was so good right now he felt like he could fly!
“Bat, Skull! Plan A!”
There really was no reason to lure with Skull and Bat.
Together with his Familiars, Ark charged in head on. The chain of exploding critical hits! The co-op attack bonus with his Familiars! The monsters’ Healths fell steadily.
Around then, Ark realized that fighting hadn’t gotten easier just because he had become stronger. The monsters inside the whale’s stomach were originally marine life. Similar to how Ark had gotten the penalty underwater, they received the penalty of not being in water. Meaning that Ark’s ability had increased and the enemies’ abilities had decreased!
‘I’m picking up EXP. Picking.’
Although they were easy to defeat, they were still over level 65. Because they were at least 5 levels higher than Ark, they gave a lot of experience. Every time he hunted a group of them his experience rose enough to be visible. The items they dropped were much better than what level 40 monsters dropped.
His body felt like it was flying. EXP was surging in. And the value of items was increased!
Fighting was so enjoyable that it was sickening.
Ark and his Familiars swept through the dungeon like that. While they were beating up four Sharkmen, a roar suddenly came from behind them.
Sharkmen flinched as they hastily scrambled away.
‘Sharkmen are running away? Just what is going on?’
He didn’t have to wonder for long. Within just a few seconds of the roar, an enormous wave of water suddenly surged in from the opposite wall. As it rolled over the wall, a raging torrent swallowed Ark and the Sharkmen.
It wasn’t a question of whether to resist or not. In the space of the time it took to say ‘Ah,’ they were swept away by the torrent and rushed past the twitching walls. How much time passed like that?
The current seemed to weaken, and then they were hurled onto the floor.
After quickly raising his head, he saw that it was an enormous plaza. He saw monsters and piles of trash that had been swept in by the water current, like himself.
‘Where is this? Ugh!”
– You took Acid damage. Damage 50.
There wasn’t a monster, but he suddenly took damage.
It was not just once. Even before the message disappeared, he received damage again. White steam was rising at his feet. It wasn’t only Ark. Steam also came out of the bodies of the stumbling monsters. There were also monsters already in critical condition.
‘My god, this is… the stomach!’
Startled, Ark looked around.
Thankfully the exit was a few meters away. The exit was wriggling as it closed. Since the food had come in, the stomach’s sphincter was automatically closing.
‘If we fail to escape, then we’ll be digested!’
“No, I don’t wanna become whale poop!”
Bat held his head and screamed. Ark agreed.
To become whale poop after working so hard to get here?
Ark ran towards the twitching and closing exit.
Bat went out first, then Ark threw Skull and himself. Ark was able to barely squeeze through, narrowly leaping out from the sphincter. Looking at the sphincter that soon closed made him break out in cold sweat.
In just a few seconds, he had lost 350 Health.
‘What the hell, what kind of stupid dungeon is this…?’
At that moment, a strange sound came behind Ark’s back.
Snap Snap Snap!
As Ark turned his head to look, his expression hardened.
Behind him, he saw a few Crabs that had been swept all the way to the stomach and had narrowly escaped. But the problem wasn’t the Crabs. It was the enormous gray worm-like monster that was grabbing and swallowing the Crabs. The Crabs attacked with their pincers, but the worm even budge and was eating them one by one.
“Wha-what is it this time? Eyes of the Cat!”
Once he used the skill, the worm’s information appeared. Its name was Great Worm, a level 80 monster.
“Great Worm? So it is basically a large roundworm parasite?”
To think he would have to fight not only revived food bits, but also a roundworm…
As if responding to Ark’s voice, the worm turned its head. In ran in as it opened its drooling mouth wide. Ark spun his body as he swung his sword. A dull sound rang out, but the worm didn’t even flinch and swung its tail.
With a single attack, his Health went down by 200.
‘I was wrong, I can’t beat it in my current condition!’
Even with darkness bonus, the monster was almost 15 levels higher. In addition, Ark had already taken damage from the stomach. However, he couldn’t flee– behind Ark, the sphincter blocked the way.
‘Dammit, I barely escaped from the stomach, so I can’t become a worm’s meal!’ Ark tightened his grip on the sword.
It was a desperate situation, but not completely hopeless. The worm had lost about 30% of its Health while fighting the Crabs.
“Let’s go, Plan C. Bat, go distract it!”
Bat flew quickly to draw the worm’s attention. At the same time, Ark let loose a barrage towards the mark that appeared on the worm’s body.
Pow pow pow powww!
The worm shook greatly after being attacked with a chain of critical hits.
The worm had slow movement but it was unbelievably fast when attacking. The worm’s sharp teeth grazed his side as it passed. Ark abandoned the idea of completely dodging worm’s attacks.
If he focused on conserving his Health, his attack would weaken by the same amount. The chance of scoring a critical hit also decreased dramatically. It was better to be prepared for damage and concentrate on counterattacking.
The worm didn’t even budge at his sword attacks.
It was the special effect granted to big monsters with slow movement. But when it took a kick, it winced briefly. When he landed a successful kick, it seemed that set chance of stun or knockback showed a little effect.
‘I can use this by following its attack pattern.’
Ark stepped as he went around the worm.
He waited for the chance, then immediately loosed a flying kick when the worm was in position to attack.
Taekwondo’s kicks are reputed to the fastest among all the martial arts. Even among these, the flying kick’s speed is outstanding!
Taking the flying kick, the worm flinched and stiffened. In that timing, Ark loosed a counter with his sword and landed a critical hit.
After about 3 minutes of fighting like that, he suddenly took damage.
– The Familiar Nameless Dead Man’s Skull has been forcefully recalled to the Netherworld. You received 50% of the Familiar’s Health as damage.
The Familiars may have gotten stronger, but there was a limit with the worm as the opponent. The worm crushed the obstructive Skull by squashing it with its body.
Soon after, Bat was covered by the saliva spraying from the worm’s mouth, fell to the floor, and was crushed. It was because Ark was too busy concentrating on attacking; he didn’t have time to check on the Familiars.
‘Familiars can be resummoned after 24 hours. But if I die, it’ll be the end. I don’t wanna revive in Nodelesse and get swallowed up again by Gallic!’
Ark clenched his teeth.
His Health, which was already in the danger level, fell to critical condition from the damage he took as his Familiars disappeared. But crisis can soon become opportunity. Indomitable Will and Indomitable Body were activated.
“Now, Dark Blade!”
Since Familiars had disappeared, there was no reason to worry about his Mana. Ark immediately let fly 2 more Dark Blades.
However, the worm’s movements couldn’t be hindered by sword attacks. The moment Dark Blade landed, the worm’s lashing tail hit his waist. With a dull shock, Ark was pushed back.
Thanks to the effects of Undying and Indomitable a critical hit was avoided, but his Health went down to 50. Without wasting a moment, worm came flying in for a body slam.
‘The bastard is also in critical condition from Dark Blade! 104 Mana is left. I can still use Dark Blade once. I’ll bet victory on a single blow!’
The Snake wrapped around his waist spat out a potion.
The Snake wrapped around his waist spat out a potion. This was Snake’s good point. In a normal fight, you needed to open the bag and take out a potion to drink it. The time it took was 3-4 minutes for even a skilled fighter, and it was only possible with that time if they always kept their bag organized. But thanks to Snake, it didn’t take Ark even 1 second.
He quickly downed the lesser recovery potion and restored 100 Health.
Ark’s eyes flashed. “I’ll be damned if this doesn’t kill it! Dark Blade!”
In the instant Ark and the worm passed each other, a deafening roar burst out.
Ark flew couple of meters and hit the wall.
He quickly checked his Health and saw he only had 7 Health left. On the other hand, the worm that had gotten hit by a critical hit with several added bonuses glowed as it twisted, then slowly melted away.
It was Ark’s victory. The moment worm was defeated and his level rose and he a new skill was created.
You have learned a new skill.
Counter Attack (Beginner, Passive): This is a technique that can only be learned by one who possesses the courage and reflexes to grasp the moment the enemy attacks. However, most important is the strong will to not fear the enemy. One who doesn’t have Indomitable Will and Indomitable Body and can’t overcome fear, cannot learn this skill.
Should Counter Attack succeed, 50% additional attack power will be applied. The 5% stun effect chance doesn’t stack with other active attack skill.
Thanks to counters his body had learned while fighting the underwater monsters, he received another useful skill.
When the worm disappeared, a grey skin was dropped.
Great Worm Skin (Ingredient)
The skin of the Great Worm, which only inhabits a very special environment. Not only is it hard to encounter a Great Worm, but it is also extremely rare to find a skin of such good quality.
If a great craftsman were to tan this skin, it can become a great leather product.
He couldn’t tell if it was a good or bad item from the description.
“Whew, anyways, I survived.”
He had survived with his life, but the price was too great. Both of his Familiars were force recalled, and the durability of his armor fell to a critical level. The japtem shoes he’d worn instead of the Sharkman’s Shackles were actually broken.
Although he can say he won, half of it was luck. He didn’t think he could win if he fought it again at his current level.
“For now it would be good to avoid the worms.”
Ark took out his tool box.
* * *
After tasting bitterness once, Ark became more cautious.
Unlike the first time, he didn’t dare sweep the dungeon blindly. He explored cautiously one step at a time. Because Bat was gone, he couldn’t scout. So he had no choice but to be careful. When he sensed something suspicious from afar, he quickly used ‘Stealth’ to hide. He faced monsters besides the worm without difficulty even without the Familiars. If there weren’t any worms, this place would have been ideal hunting ground because of the high experience. As he explored the dungeon like this, Ark realized several things.
In the dungeon, the violent torrent occurred approximately once every 2 hours. Ark calculated the time, and when it was time for the violent torrent, he equipped Sharkman’s Shackles. By wearing the Sharkman’s Shackles that wouldn’t budge even in a tempest, Ark wasn’t swept away by the torrent. However, the penalties weren’t a joke, so he immediately took them off when the torrent passed.
It was really annoying, but the torrent wasn’t all bad. When the torrent passed through, piles of trash formed here and there. Once in a while, he would find a useful item among the trash. In many ways, it was a pretty good dungeon.
Ark got so obsessed in exploring the dungeon that he forgot to sleep. 24 hours passed like that.
“You’ve all worked hard. For now eat this.” Ark praised Bat and Skull’s hard work as he made them food.
Once the Familiars’ Health was restored, he said to Bat, “Bat, do you want to go against Dunphil again?”
“What? Really?” Bat asked in excitement.
Bat hadn’t had a rematch with Dunphil after the two consecutive losses. Although they were busy with the quest, the real reason was that Ark had judged Bat’s skill was still lacking. The one who’d be regretful if Bat was beaten up by Dunphil and force recalled was Ark.
But this thinking had changed when he was alone for a moment.
Without the water penalty Bat had become considerably stronger. With the current Bat, it might even win. No, its morale had risen because it had suddenly grown stronger, so this was the golden chance.
‘If by chance Bat loses, as long as I avoid Great Worms, Skull and myself is enough.’
“Just don’t forget all the training we’ve done. Be cool headed and composed. You know to pay attention when I say something, right? You can’t do anything about losing because you’re lacking skills, but if you lose without properly showing your skill, then I won’t give you any more chances.”
“I understand. Master, I will do my best.”
Ark received the promise and summoned Dunphil.
Dunphil, as always, talked in an incomparably arrogant tone.
“What is it now? Didn’t you give up yet?”
“It’ll be a bit different this time.”
“Hmph, even so Bat is still just a bat. On top of that, the mere likes of a bat of the Vampire lineage can’t beat me, a noble of the Netherworld.”
Bat didn’t even get mad at Dunphil’s provocative words and just shot sharp glares at him.
Ark nodded in satisfaction and said, “Good, Bat. Begin.”
“Prepare yourself!” Bat gave a battle cry and flew.
Dunphil swung his fingernail as if it were ridiculous, but the situation was different from before. Bat charged around Dunphil’s arm like a snake climbing a tree and struck a blow to the neck.
“Ack! How-how can this be!” Confusion burst from Dunphil’s mouth.
He’d only seen the slow movements underwater, so he couldn’t properly cope with Bat’s movements that had become several times faster and floundered about.
Seeing the enemy’s confused appearance, Bat’s fighting spirit greatly increased. While swooping down from above and rising up from below, he hammered Dunphil’s chin.
The chain technique it had learned from Ark!
Bat showed a completely different appearance from before. It was so good that there was no need for Ark’s coaching.
Every time the attacks connected, Dunphil stumbled.
“You damn cur! This is price for harassing me all that time!”
When his health fell to about 40%, Dunphil’s body was suddenly enveloped by smoke. A big bat emerged from the spreading smoke and struck Bat.
Dunphil had judged that it would be difficult to keep up with Bat’s speed in humanoid form and had transformed into a bat. It seemed that even though he was a minor Vampire, he could transform into a bat because he was a Vampire in name.
Once Dunphil transformed, the fight became an aerial dogfight.
As the two bats got complexly tangled, they attacked and took hits intensely.The battle was so fast, Ark couldn’t tell which side was Dunphil without Eyes of the Cat.
As the fight continued, it seemed like Bat was being pushed back a little. Their abilities were nearly the same, but Dunphil’s transformation had bewildered Bat. In addition, Bat had no experience fighting airborne monsters.
“Bat, there is no need to be confused. Think of underwater combat. For you who dodged the Jellyfish’s tentacles, there’s no reason you can’t avoid Dunphil’s attacks.”
Ark’s advice had an effect.
Bat hadn’t fought with airborne monsters before. But marine monsters were able to move around naturally in water for the most part. Which meant that in the end, they were no different from airborne monsters. In addition, while fighting marine monsters, there was a water penalty in effect.
No matter how strong Dunphil was, it was not more difficult than fighting marine monsters with the water penalty applied.
Bat’s attack pattern changed. Just like when he was swimming underwater, he spread his wings wide and glided; when he found an opening, he swooped down like a hawk. Control of attack speed, this was the fruit of what Ark had beaten into him.
“Cheater, to interfere in another’s fight!”
“Hmph, you said it won’t be a challenge no matter what. Have you changed your mind?”
Once Bat used the technique, the fight returned to the original situation.
Dunphil and Bat’s Health was maintained at the same level as it was shaved away. But since Dunphil had significantly more health, it wasn’t an exaggeration to say Bat was overwhelming in terms of skill.
Five minutes later, Dunphil fell into critical condition first from a slight difference in Health and his body became dyed in red. Then Dunphil let out a screeching scream as he pulled himself back. At the same time, a black air current burst from his mouth, stealing Bat’s vision, and Dunphil charged in. He was trying to put up a last stand.
Ark’s eyes flashed.
“Bat. Don’t dodge, this is the zero situation!”
“Uohhh, die! You impudent bastard!”
Dunphil charged forward as if he’d been shot from a bow.
Rankled, Bat also came in with a charge.
“This will decide it!”
Bat ground his teeth and rushed in. When the two bats seemed like they were going to crash, Bat suddenly did a sharp curve. Dunphil, who had charged with all his strength, widened his eyes in surprise.
Dunphil crashed into the wall. Then Bat spun around in midair and hit Dunphil on back of his head.
Finally, Dunphil, who had his Health depleted, fell to the ground fluttering like paper.
“Well done, Bat!”
Ark nodded as he sported a satisfied smile. This was the ultimate victory move that Ark had trained. Zero situation; this was Ark’s code to move the opposite direction.
“Ugh, to think I really lost….”
Dunphil moaned as he crawled on the ground. Then he tried smiling to the approaching Bat.
“Huhu, you became stronger. Actually, I remembered you from the beginning. But I wanted for you to be stronger, so I was deliberately cold…”
Bam, bam, bam!
It seemed like Dunphil had been hoping for a scene from a youth drama.
But Bat didn’t carry the slightest sense of this sentiment. Bat, who had approached with long strides, abruptly stomped on Dunphil’s snout.
In the end, Dunphil disappeared without being able to squeak another word.
At that moment a message window popped up before Ark’s eyes.
Player’s Familiar Hatred-bearing Bat has defeated Dunphil.
You can now fuse the summon to evolve it. Please choose one familiar to be the main.
The Familiar created by the fusion evolution will have the main Familiar’s stats with the auxiliary Familiar’s stats after consideration.
Even though Bat had won, Dunphil had much higher stats and level than Bat. But Ark didn’t hesitate to choose Bat. Stats aren’t everything. Although it was not indicated with a number, the experience gained with Ark through practice and battle was worth more than ability.
Also he didn’t want to give up the Hatred-bearing Bat he’d become fond of and go around with someone like Dunphil.
“Main, Hatred-Bearing Bat. Auxiliary Dunphil.”
As soon as Ark’s decision was made, light enveloped Bat’s body. And as the body steadily changed, it became endowed with a human form.
With a black mantle and slicked back hair was a boy over 10 years of age.
He was like a boy going to a Halloween party dressed as Dracula. That made him give off the feeling of cuteness overall, but the sharply raised eyebrows made his expression quite fierce.
The Familiar’s fusion evolution has finished in success.
After fusing with Dunphil, Hatred-bearing Bat has been promoted to a low-ranking Vampire clan. With the mighty will to control the whole Netherworld, he has received the name Dedric. Therefore, Dedric earned low-ranking noble status in the Netherworld and has gained the right to bear an artifact.
Lancel’s Sword is now Dedric’s artifact.
By using Lancel’s Sword, a 10% collaboration attack bonus will be added. Because you have come to possess the artifact, an additional skill has formed in Dedric.
A resident of the Netherworld with a lightning fast ascension to a low-rank Vampire within the race of Vampires. As a self-made Familiar, he is prideful and dislikes humiliation.
As an effect of becoming a Vampire, if it is not in a dungeon he cannot turn into a Vampire during the day. In Bat form as well, he receives a 30% reduction in stats when under the sun.
* Can turn into Human or Bat naturally.
* Dark Dash can be used.
Exhales darkness to temporarily turn enemies into dark status, then uses a low-class charge to inflict damage.
Mana cost: 30
‘Oh, isn’t this pretty useful?’
Every stat had dramatically risen.
If he calculated the general stats, they came out to be around level 27. At Nodelesse it had been around level 18 after stuffing it with food, so in an instant the level had risen by about 9 levels. And he had also learned a new skill. It seemed to be the saved move that Dunphil had used.
Because the Vampire affinity appeared there was a penalty, but overall it was satisfactory growth. But there was one thing that bothered him.
All stats had risen, but only Loyalty had a -25 penalty. He was soon able to confirm that effect.
“Bat, good job.”
“Bat? Who is that?”
“Huu, listen well. I am no longer the Bat you know. I am the noble of the Netherworld, Dedric. Until now you hit and tortured me with food as you desired, but I will no longer bear with it.”
Ark’s expression twisted strangely.
Listening to him, it didn’t seem as if he had forgotten about the time he was Bat. In other words, just because he became a bit stronger, he was defying his master.
Ark was furious. He worked hard to feed his familiars and even trained them. Is that all? He had chosen Bat instead of Dunphil who had better abilities. But the first thing he did was mutiny.
Ark’s voice became cold. “So?”
“Of course, I’m not saying I’ll reject you outright. My station may have risen, but the fact that you are my master has not changed. However, I flatly refuse to be used as a food test subject. Of course I want to grow, so I will eat, but I will make my decision after seeing the food’s condition. This is my obvious right.”
Your right?” Ark laughed.
It seemed he was able to use quite difficult words because of his increased intelligence. What should he call this? It was very regrettable.
Why couldn’t this guy remember what kind of owner his master was even though he’d become smarter than when he was Bat? That once Ark put his mind to stepping on someone, he didn’t stop at a suitable level.
‘It seems there is a need to clearly show the Familiars their subservient relationship with me.’
Ark quickly stood up and started to kick Dedric without warning.
Even if he did evolve, he was only about level 27; as he took Ark’s kicks, his Health dropped steadily.
Dedric who rolled on the floor screamed in fright.
“Let’s-let’s talk! This is violence!”
“Didn’t you know? I like violence.”
“I-I’m a child! This is child abuse!”
“Even so, you’ve gotta get hit if you do something worth a beating. Wicked kids are a problem of society.”
Ark kept stepping on him to the point that it seemed he was overdoing it. In the end, Dedric’s Health hit rock bottom and was force recalled.
Skull’s and Snake’s eyes widened at Ark’s sudden change in appearance.
Ark spoke while having soft smile.
Ark spoke with a soft smile. “Don’t worry, you haven’t done anything wrong. But ones who defy me just because they grew a bit will be beaten. Of course you guys are kind, this will never happen with you guys, right?”
Although he talked with smile, there was a cold atmosphere.
Skull and Snake immediately nodded.
Ark immersed himself in hunting with Skull like nothing happened. For witnessing Dedric’s misery, Skull worked even harder in fights. If it felt Ark was in danger, it didn’t even hesitate to become Ark’s shield. It seemed Skull wanted to show Ark that it was different from Dedric.
Ark gave this Skull delicious food and was affectionate. But it was different for Dedric. Ark summoned Dedric after 24 hours had passed and stepped on him without saying a word.
“Waah, st-stop, I was wrong, I won’t do it again!”
“Once a traitor, always a traitor.”
After repeating this 3~4 times, Dedric got on to its hands and knees immediately to beg after being summoned.
“Wah, ma-master, I’m sorry! I lost my mind for a bit and just joked once!”
But Ark didn’t even pretend to listen and stepped on him without mercy.
If you cut some slack to those who’ve wronged you once, they’re sure to try and crawl all over you. Kids that have grown up without manners, are mostly like that because their parents are indecisive.
Just as pets might try to bite their master if not trained at an early age, when teaching manners you must make sure the seeds are sown deeply.
Ark was planning on stepping on him like this until they got out of the dungeon at the very least.